Exploring our villages
One of the complications of our circuitous village road and footpath system is that any walk around it will involve a degree of road crossing and doubling back.
Roads were, until the late 19th century, muddy tracks based on the shortest, and preferably driest, routes. Lollingdon track was originally the main route to Cholsey - being the first dry stretch after the boggy fields to its north. In the 18th century a toll was introduced to fund the higher and drier route - the present A417 - leaving the old track to become less used and the houses along it more isolated.
Snow on Aston Street
So much in our villages is historically interesting that it would need the judgement of Solomon to select individual buildings, therefore in the road by road section we have limited specific entries, but would urge you to look at the following key works for more detailed descriptions:
- Astons History Project’s “Astons Walkabout.” 2019.
- The Aston Tirrold & Aston Upthorpe Conservation Area Character Appraisal. 2004.
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Cob walls in the villages
The origins of our village roads
- Moreton and Hagbourne Roads indicate the settlements they lead to.
- Aston Street indicates the road's status as the main thoroughfare through the settlement.
- Fullers Road is named after a significant village family.
- The Croft refers to agricultural land use (an enclosed field used for tillage or pasture).
- Spring Lane records its topographic significance (a spring line occurs where a ridge of permeable rock lies over impermeable rock and a line of springs results along the boundary).
- Baker Street – roads were often named for where a key village amenity was located.
- Thorpe Street is a reference to a medieval term, meaning hamlet or small village.
- Chalk Hill indicates the geology of the land and also its proximity to the village chalk pits (a key local building material).
- Rectory Lane so called as the location of St. Michael’s rectory.
Changes in road names did occur over time as usage or significance altered:
There was once a stretch of road called Waterloo Road, possibly named after a returning soldier or an indicator of the national euphoria at that significant victory
The unnamed lane beside Finches off Baker Street was listed in one census as Red Donkey Lane
Rectory Lane has previously been known as Mill Lane because of the nearby mill stream
In the 1891 census Fullers Road is called Popes Road and Spring Lane is called Chapel Lane
Reflecting local connections in road names continues to this day, as with the recently constructed Frimley Yard off Hagbourne Road, named after the last racing stables to operate in the village - at one time there were four racing stables operating in the Astons.
Aerial view of the Villages. Image credit: Simon & Helen Young
ASTONS DIGITAL COMMUNITY ARCHIVE (ADCA)
The Astons History Project's archive of pictures, and documents, is gradually being digitised and added to our community archive. Do you have any interesting photos that could be scanned and added to the village archive?